On the 23rd wild, windy day of January, Upper Two marched like legionaries to Norwich Castle for an exciting day with The Romans and Iceni. When we had wrestled ourselves from the layers of clothes we were wearing, we went upstairs to the auditorium where we met the characters we would be spending the day with.
Iceni Essica woke her Roman friend, Marius, up to tell him about the rumours of rebellion. Marius told her not to worry, all would be well and that if there was a battle, the Romans would win. Essica didn’t know what to do. She had three choices: She had been collecting the tax on behalf of the Romans so she could choose to seek out protection from them; She could return to her tribe, the Iceni and ask them to protect her or she could do nothing and hope that the Iceni and the Romans could learn to get on with one another. Upper Two were tasked with helping her to find out! We were to spend the rest of the day with the Iceni and the Romans, getting to know them and gathering evidence to help us to decide.
We split in to two groups, one investigating the ways the Romans and the Celts lived and finding similarities between them as the second began training as a Roman legionary and learning about what it was like to be a centurion. Both sessions were incredibly fun and interactive. We loved looking for clues in the artefacts and preparing for battle.
We were very hungry by the time we had lunch but were looking forward to the second half of the day. None of us were sure who we agreed with yet.
After lunch, we spent some time with an archaeologist, who shared some very interesting (and very ancient) artefacts with us. We loved learning about the oil lamps (definitely not ocarinas!), the beautiful mosaics and very well-designed roof tiles. We could understand why the Romans felt as though they had provided a better way of life for the Celts. We swapped over and learned about how the Celts made Torcs and why they were so important to them. We brought home our lovely new jewellery and found it interesting that the Celts buried their precious possessions ceremonially, almost like an offering to God.
At the end of the day, we all gathered back together to decide what we thought Essica should do. It was a pretty even split, with children from both sides giving good arguments to support their decision. Those who thought she should join the Romans explained that she would be safer with them as they had more advanced weapons and a more organized army. Those who sided with the Celts said their passion and belief in protecting themselves would lead to victory in the end. Those who thought she should stay out of it explained that there was evidence of Roman and Celtic culture being combined and gave the example of the Roman wine cup with Celtic ducks on the handles. If there was evidence that they could get on and learn from each other, maybe they could have a conversation to sort out their differences.
We never discovered the choice Essica made. We watched as she buried her most treasured possessions under an Oak tree, the same treasures that archaeologists found hundreds of years later.
“I particularly enjoyed looking at the swords and making the torcs.” Henry U2VC